Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is getting a definitive documentary, chronicling the rise of the game, its current iterations, and the modern players who make the game what it is today.
D&D was developed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974 and it is generally regarded as the first tabletop roleplaying game. In the game, players create characters that then go on adventures, with 20-sided dice determining the success or failure of any actions the characters wish to take. The whole thing is run by a dungeon master, who essentially tells the story. Modern D&D is experiencing a continued wave of popularity, thanks to the huge success of the web series Critical Role, appearances in popular media like Stranger Things, and an entire selection of podcasts featuring players enjoying the game.
A lot has changed since the first edition of the game, which heavily featured combat, dungeon running, and the risk of quick character death. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for players to spend at least half the session just talking to non-player characters (NPCs) or to each other in character. Wizards of the Coast released the fifth edition of the game in 2014 and is currently openly playtesting “One D&D,” the upcoming expansion of the rulebooks set to release in 2024.
D&D is also approaching an important milestone that year — in 2024, the game will celebrate 50 years. Hasbro’s Entertainment One studio will produce a documentary about the game and its journey to coincide with this anniversary celebration.
Joe Manganiello and Kyle Newman are set to co-direct the documentary. Manganiello is an actor known for his work on Justice League, True Blood, and Magic Mike. He also spends time as a dungeon master and is known for his campaign featuring other celebrities, including Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, fellow actor Vince Vaughn, Game of Thrones co-creator D.B. Weiss, and wrestler Paul Wight. Kyle Newman, the documentary’s other director, is a filmmaker who’s worked on a number of movies including Fanboys, a comedy featuring Star Wars fans as a central element.
The documentary will be produced by Joe; his brother, Nick Manganiello; Anthony Savini; and Cecily Tyler. Executive producers are Tara Long, Geno McDermott, Jon Peterson (who some call a D&D scholar), Adam Goldberg, and Kyle Newman.
This team is not just a group of D&D superfans making a documentary. They’ll also have access to 400 hours of previously unreleased footage that goes back to the creation of Dungeons & Dragons. Additionally, the documentary team has an agreement with Wizards of the Coast for access to confidential developments regarding the game. This, plus exclusive interviews with celebrity fans of the game, should make for a documentary packed with content that even the biggest D&D fans haven’t seen before. Spanning from the beginning of the game to its modern impact on culture, this documentary aims to capture both the history and current fascination with this impactful piece of culture.
The Dungeons & Dragons documentary will be released in 2024. Fans of the roleplaying game will want to mark their calendars now so everyone in their campaign can make it to the watch party!